Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 26, pp 27014–27022 | Cite as

Effects of different potassium fertilizers on cadmium uptake by three crops

  • Kang Wang
  • Guiping Fu
  • Yao Yu
  • Yanan Wan
  • Zhe Liu
  • Qi Wang
  • Jingsuo Zhang
  • Huafen LiEmail author
Research Article


Cadmium contamination of agricultural soils has aroused worldwide concern because of the threats posed to human health through accumulation in food chains. A greenhouse pot experiment was conducted with in situ Cd-contaminated soil to study the influence of different potassium fertilizers (KCl, K2SO4, and KNO3) on Cd accumulation in rice, wheat, and pak choi as well as the NH4NO3-extractable Cd (NEX-Cd) content in soils. In our study, rice and wheat biomass increased in the presence of K fertilizers, whereas pak choi biomass remained stable. Moreover, our experiment demonstrated that Cl increased Cd uptake by crops more effectively than SO42− or NO3. The KCl treatments increased the Cd content of all three crops; as the KCl dose was increased, the Cd content of rice grains, wheat grains, and pak choi shoots increased by 10.8–192.8%, 17.1–67.7%, and 15.1–40.4%, respectively. The KNO3 treatment also increased the Cd content of all three crops; however, the K2SO4 treatment only slightly increased the Cd content of wheat and pak choi and greatly decreased the Cd content of rice. In addition, both of the NEX-Cd content of wheat soil and pak choi soil were much higher than that of rice paddy soil. The KCl treatment resulted in a significant increase in the NEX-Cd content of rice paddy soil, but there were no significant differences in the NEX-Cd content of wheat soil or pak choi soil, regardless of which types or doses of K fertilizers were supplied. Based on these results, when K fertilizers are applied to Cd-contaminated soils, both types and doses should be carefully considered to mitigate Cd accumulation in crops, especially the edible part.


Potassium fertilizers Cadmium Bioavailability Soil-plant system Anion 


Funding information

This work was financially supported by the Agriculture Research System of China (CARS-23-B16), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41471271), and the Beijing Science and Technology Plan (No. Z151100001115008).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Beijing Key Laboratory of Farmland Soil Pollution Prevention and Remediation, Key Laboratory of Plant-Soil Interactions of the Ministry of Education, College of Resources and Environmental SciencesChina Agricultural UniversityBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Institute of Agricultural Resources and Regional PlanningChinese Academy of Agricultural SciencesBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Beijing Municipal Station of Agro-environmental MonitoringBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

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